Lot 58
  • 58

An English silver-mounted carved coconut tankard, the carving probably North German, early 16th century, the unmarked mounts possibly slightly later

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Silver, Coconut
  • 15.8 cm., 6 1/4 in. high
the nut body carved in four panels illustrating episodes from the life of Joseph; the flat-dome cover with stylised heart thumb-piece, hollow-scroll handle, reeded scalloped lappets and rims, on a flaring circular foot, the underside with engraved scratch-weight '09o 12dwtt 00gr'


Illustrated in the French magazine ‘Plaisir de France’, September, 1968.

Catalogue Note

The first panel portrays Joseph's dream of the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing down before him (Genesis 37:9). The second shows Joseph being placed in the well by his brothers (Genesis 37:12-36). The third represents Pharaohs dream of the seven lean and seven fat cows (Genesis, 41:20). The forth depicts all the nations coming to Egypt buy grain (Genesis 41:57).An un-mounted German carved coconut in the Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf (inv. 17584), dated to the beginning of the 16th century, appears to come from the same workshop. It also has four scenes in rounded arches bordered by the identical pillars headed by flowers. The action is similarly concentrated on the scene's left side, the figures have the same heavy lidded eyes and Joseph's mother in the dream scene on the present coconut wears an identical wimple to the one worn by Mary's mother, St Anne, on the Dusseldorf coconut. It is clear that the The Dusseldorf coconut has been carved for mounting as it has vacant panels on either side of the carved scenes to take silver straps. (Rolf Fritz, Die Gefässe aus kokosnuss in Mitteleuropa 1250-1800, Mainz am Rhein, 1983, kat. no. 20)